To be effective in improving quality, TQM must be supported at all levels of a firm, from the highest executive to the lowest-level hourly employee. TQM extends the definition of quality to all functional areas of the organization, including production, marketing, finance, and information systems. The process begins by listening to customers' wants and needs and then delivering goods and services that fulfill these desires. TQM even expands the definition of customer to include any person inside or outside the company to whom an employee passes his or her work. In a restaurant, for example, the cooks' customers are the waiters and waitresses. This notion encourages each member of the organization to stay focused on quality and remain fully aware of his or her contribution to it and responsibility for it. The TQM philosophy focuses on teamwork, increasing customer satisfaction, and lowering costs.
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